When it comes to coin investing, conventional wisdom tells us that rarer is generally better. But what does it mean for a coin to be “rare” and what is proof 70 condition?

For starters, an investor could consider: a coin's age, original mintage numbers, market demand, or socioeconomic or geopolitical influences on particular runs.

But when it comes to investment grade coins, the rarest of rare is the Proof 70 class (PF70). These top-notch pieces have been granted perfect-quality “grades” from industry authorities like the Professional Coin Grading Service (PCGS) or the Numismatic Guaranty Corporation (NGC), and often prove to be the best value-add for many investors.

For some perspective, from 2010 to 2017, for example, a $10k initial purchase of Gold American Eagle PF70 coins doubled in price, drastically outpacing the trajectory of the gold bullion price index. It’s certainly no surprise then that these “perfect condition” pieces are often preferred over many other coin options.

Proof Coins

So what is a Proof coin anyway?

Proof coin production differs from that of bullion. While both methods are commercial in scale, Proof production does involve more rigor and oversight. The process begins by feeding polished coin blanks into coin presses by hand, where they will be struck multiple times to create one coin. As a result, Proof coins are highly refined with exceptionally sharp images and beautiful high-sheen backgrounds. Finally, Proof coins are mounted in protective cases to preserve quality and elevate presentation. (you can put anything in a case. It’s certification where the cases come into play.)

Proof coins that are certified in top condition are investment-grade precious metals pieces that derive value from availability, market demand, and overall quality. Certified proof coins aren’t traded on an index like bullion is, and therefore, their respective values aren’t tethered to precious metal spot prices. As a result, Proofs are often less volatile investments, a feature that surely helps explain their high levels of market demand seen. To clients looking for long-term stores of value, the U.S. Gold Bureau most widely recommends these perfect-condition Proof coin investments.

Where do Proof coins come from?

Proof coins can be purchased from the U.S. Mint or through a reputable precious metals dealer like the U.S. Gold Bureau. Coins bought directly from the Mint, however, do not come with the value-enhancing “grades” mentioned above, so investors who do indeed want graded coins must work with third-party outfits like NGC or PCGS directly.

The grading process often proves cumbersome for investors trying to navigate it on their own, costing extra time and money along the way. The U.S. Gold Bureau, however, eliminates this step by obtaining grades for our coins before they’re even offered to clients for purchase. We work with both PCGS and NGC to guarantee the certification of our products and are proud to offer a Proof coin inventory made up almost exclusively of PF70 pieces!

What does it mean to be PF70? How are grades determined?

NGC defines a PF70 coin as “having no post-production imperfections at 5x magnification.” In short, a “perfect” coin.

A variety of features play into these “post-production imperfections” including sharpness of images, extent, and visibility of wear and tear, how much original “mint luster” is intact, completeness and legibility of lettering - to name a few.

NGC and other leading coin graders use what’s known as the Sheldon scale to determine grades. Established in 1949 (and updated in the 1970s), this rubric serves as a means of standardizing the coin rating system. Scoring on the Sheldon scale ranges from 1, meaning “poor” quality, all the way up to 70, meaning “perfect” quality. A perfect PF70 grade guarantees a coin’s condition for the life of the coin, bolstering its validity, value, and desirability.

At NGC, coins are assessed by at least two professional numismatists by the time the process is done. One by one, coins are examined by each grader individually, and final scores are administered via an official certificate of authenticity after all necessary inspections complete.

So how rare is a PF70 coin?

To answer our original question, in short, PF70s are very rare. Not only are Proof coins produced in smaller quantities than Mint State or other coins, but only a tiny percentage of this already smaller population will receive a perfect grade of 70. Thanks to the rigor and scrutiny of the grading process, it’s difficult for a coin to be deemed “perfect.”

Building on this established uniqueness, the U.S. Gold Bureau has partnered with former Mint Director Ed C. Moy to enhance our offering of Proof coins even further. Each PF70 coin from the U.S. Gold Bureau is accompanied by a certification label hand signed by Moy himself, a unique value-add exclusive to U.S. Gold Bureau clients. Coins with these one-of-a-kind signature labels have proven extremely popular among investors, making headlines and gaining traction through impressive levels of market demand and seemingly unwavering values.

Ed C. Moy was the 38th Director of the U.S. Mint, serving from 2006 to 2011 under both presidents George W. Bush and Barak Obama. Before his tenure as Mint Director, Moy served President Bush as Special Assistant to the President for Presidential Personnel. Moy also boasts a distinguished career working for a variety of private-sector companies, in addition to several other stints in government.

Ready to start investing in the rare world of PF70 coins? Give our team of Precious Metals Experts a call today (800-775-3504)!